Monday, February 20, 2012

A Note from the Trenches

Today is one of those "in the trenches of motherhood" days. 

We've returned from our 8 am orthodontist appointment, the first of five loads of laundry is churning in the washer, Fisher Price toys are organized into a "Little People" village on our kitchen table, one child has already had a 20-minute break because of too much fighting, and I'm about to launch into a day of cleaning with the kids (today we're going to go step-by-step through bathroom cleaning so it gets done right). 

I took a break to come up to my office for scripture study--to give the Lord the opportunity to remind me of the vision He has for me and my family.

I hold onto this vision with everything I have, but somewhere between the sticky kitchen cabinets, the whining children, and the three dozen emails needing my attention, I start to forget.

I forget that families are a privilege and that motherhood is a privilege.  I forget that everything doesn't have to be perfect and that my best is enough.  And sometimes I forget that the Lord is going to help me with the challenges that make my stomach hurt when I wake up in the morning (yes, I have a few of those).

One thing that helps me remember that God is involved in our everyday lives is the Personal Progress program.  Alia and I are working on it together, and though it's designed for young women, ages 12-18, mothers are encouraged to join their daughters in this incredible opportunity.

The first section we're working on is about Faith, and this morning I read a few scriptures about faith and motherhood in The Book of Mormon (Alma 56:45-48 and 57:21), as well as "The Family: A Proclamation to the World."

Beautiful, beautiful words.

Another way I remember God's messages to me is through my screen saver.  Whenever I read a scripture or a quote that really strikes a chord, I type it into a PowerPoint file, which is then saved as images and used for my screen saver.

That way, a stream of uplifting, inspiring messages are consistently right in front of me. Here are a few:

These words bring me back to center.

Living a deliberate life is hard work.  Caring for a family and contributing to society sometimes seems to require more energy and focus than I've got.

On an "in the trenches" day (like today), I won't necessarily see my progress--besides the five baskets of clean laundry.  But if I can remember that there's something bigger going on here, and that today is just one tiny part of a truly important work, I can make these trenches into safe, beautiful, precious, God-filled days that will serve as solid foundations for the rest of my life and the lives of my children.

All right, I think they need me now.  If you have any other ideas that bring light to an "in the trenches" day, I'd love to hear them.

Much love,



  1. I want to thank you. I needed this today. I don't have children, but your message is universal.

  2. This was perfectly needed today. Thank you so much for writing this. I am having a bad day that was getting worse and then I read this. So timely. I just became YW President in my ward and have decided to do the PP program all over again with my 1st counselor who never was in YW due to being a convert in her 20's. I totally love the quotes you have shared. Do you mind if I copy them?

  3. Love those quotes April! I just had to tell you that I listened to your podcast about Growing Up Global and loved it! Doesn't she have fabulous ideas?! Oh I so want to open my children's eyes to the world around them. How exciting. I've got to blog about the book soon. Thanks for taking the time to interview that neat lady and sharing those great quotes.

  4. April, I love that you are doing Personal Progress with Alia! I am thinking about doing it again now that I am back in the program. I also love the Power Point thoughts. I need to do that too. Maybe it can be a value experience--ooh! You could do that too!

  5. Loved this post April. I love your honesty, because a "day in the trenches" it is something we ALL can relate to- with our children, with our spouses and sometimes just on our own. Something I find helpful to combat these days, is I become center and focused daily--before I take on all the responsibilities of the day. I read my scriptures, pray, exercise, write in my journal and get ready for the day. It may sound like a lot - on days I have more time, I read and write more on days I don't... I do less. I figure it is the habit that adds value. Doing these things FIRST have changed my life. I am taking care of me first and then I have more to give to them.

  6. April! I loved this post! Thank you for your inspiring message!

    I'm trying to figure out how to email you, since I haven't yet, I hope you don't mind if I do this here. This is Mandy Cheney, one of the POM trainers, and I wanted your permission to use some of your quotes in an upcoming post I'm doing for I write there daily and would love to quote you and of course give you the credit. I can link to you, but don't know if you would prefer I link to this blog or POM.
    When you get a second, could you email me and we can chat for 5 secs?


  7. Hi Mandy! So sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you. I'm so excited about the writing you're doing for Babble. Congrats on a fun assignment! You're absolutely welcome to use any of the quotes above. I'd love for you to link to Power of Moms' Welcome Page:


  8. Such wisdom, Lindsay! I agree--getting focused early in the day is the best. Sometimes when the morning chaos takes over, I just have to retreat to get my bearings. Not easy, but worth it! Thinking of you . . ..

  9. I love that idea, Anna! I think Power of Moms projects would fit in very well with value experiences :) You could do it through the Bloom Game!

  10. Thanks Mindy! I'm so glad you liked the podcast. I have become such a huge fan of Homa's. She's done some serious work on that topic, and I love it that we can all grow from it. Please send me the link to your blog, okay?

  11. Hi Michelle! Sorry it's taken so long for me to get back with you. You are more than welcome to copy the quotes I included in this post. Hope your week is going great, and good luck with your YW calling!

  12. Thank you, Jan!


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